Ex-Ohio prisons director dies; became death penalty opponent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former state prisons director who oversaw more than 30 executions and then became an anti-death penalty advocate in retirement has died. Terry Collins was 63.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction confirmed Collins’ death on Thursday of a heart attack.

Collins was also warden at the maximum-security Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville during the 1993 prison riot that left nine inmates and a guard dead.

He was named prisons director in 2006 and retired in 2010 after a 32-year career.

Current director Gary Mohr called Collins a professional who cared deeply about the department.

Collins defended Ohio’s execution procedures as director but actively opposed capital punishment after his retirement.

He was scheduled as keynote speaker at an anti-death penalty event at the Ohio Statehouse next month.